So late last week was Kings Islands Banshee Media Day and opening weekend. My day started Wednesday night at 10pm when I left for my drive to the Mason Ohio amusement park. The drive wasn’t too bad but the anticipation was killing me the entire time. I ended up arriving at about 2:45am Thursday morning to a line of cars waiting outside the parking lot to get in. So I pulled up and waited with them. At about 4:30 we saw a park employee walking towards us. My heart started pounding because I knew they were going to open the gates. I ran back to my car, started it up and drove into the park for the first time.
Registration was next. I was only a few people back in line for the Great Ohio Coaster Club window. We were greeted with a Banshee Media Day shirt, a glass block with etchings of the Banshee logo and the ride itself, our media badges for the day, and a coupon for a free Banshee ride photo. The park also provided breakfast, lunch, drinks, and their blue and purple ice cream all day during the event.
It was time to finally get let into the park. They opened the front gate, checked badges and let us in! It was a mass crowd of people swarming into the park. I just couldn’t believe I was actually there. We walked in, turned left and there it was, Banshee. The first thing noticeable was the dive loop and a lot of fog.
There was already a small line formed to enter the Haunted Hill Cemetery, a.k.a the queue line for Banshee. There were grave stones everywhere with Celtic writing. The anticipation was building even more now, fog everywhere waiting for our first signs of the Banshee. Then it happened…An alarm went off and the first test train was unleashed. Watching with wide open eyes as it ascended the lift hill, over us on the dive loop and around the life hill loop.
Into the cemetery and through the queue into the station, themed as an Irish church with ghostly flickering lights. The back seat was my destination, the reality of it all hitting hard. I was next to board the spirit of Banshee. Locked into my seat the ride began. Out of the station to the left and immediately on the hill. The ride has speakers going up the hill with suspenseful music playing while the ride train was taken to the top. When finally nearing the top it happened, the Banshees wail sounded as the train dropped down the twisted first drop just making it in time for a night time dark ride, a completely different experience then during the day.
The rest of the ride went by in a blur, literally. This ride offers high speeds through each inversion giving you the feeling of not knowing if you are upside down or not! The dive loop is incredible, the zero g roll is amazing, leading to the fastest point in the ride. Because of the layout of the land at KI Banshee actually goes below ground level and you feel every inch of it. Towards the end of the ride is a 170 foot long heartline roll, my favorite part of the ride. The ride slows down before this inversion so when you twist upside down you leave your seat and sort of float through the inversion. The ride ends with the break run into the station and your spirit has been taken over by the Banshee.
My second coaster experience at Kings Island was The Bat. Formerly Flight Deck with a new paint job this Arrow Dynamics suspended swinging coaster offers a smooth ride with high speed turns and a close up of the back half of Banshee. The lift hill takes a while to take you to the top but after that its all speed and turns ending the ride at a 90 degree swing into the break run.